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Trio of Warriors medal at state

Staff writer

It was a mere point that foiled the Warrior wrestling trio of Tyler Palic, Charlie Nordquist, and Jarret McLinden’s chances of capturing first, third, and fifth place medals, respectively, Saturday at the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling meet at Hays.

Seniors Palic, and McLinden likely wrestled their final match, closing out phenomenal high-school careers.

Out of 73 schools, Marion’s 49 points were good for 12th place, with Scott City’s 98 1/2 points pacing the field.

For 132-pound junior Ethan Darnall, who finished 0-2 in his first year qualifying for Hays, the weekend was more about building toward next season.

Darnall dropped his opening match to Smith Center’s Jaden Atwood with Atwood pinning him in 4:35.

Darnall closed out the year with Hoxie’s Aidan Baalman pinning him in 3:29 and Atwood eventually taking fifth.

After a second-place finish a year ago, Palic was arguably the Warriors’ best chance at winning a gold medal at 195 pounds.

But getting it would require beating Cimarron nemesis Josh Seabolt, who’d handed Palic one of his four losses on the year in January at Norton.

There’d be no denying Palic of wrestling for the title a second year as he took down Minneapolis’ Chance Korinek in 1:20 to set up a quarterfinal match against Norton’s Hayden Wiltfong. Palic ran his season record to 3-0 against Wiltfong, pinning his adversary in 5:15 and advancing to the semifinals.

Ell Saline’s Nick Davenport was well acquainted with Palic, having his title hopes crushed a year ago, also in the semifinals. The second-ranked junior Davenport already owned a victory over Palic earlier in the year.

Palic got the last laugh again, avenging the previous loss by pinning his Cardinal rival in 3:09, and getting one last crack at Seabolt for the title.

After jumping out to a 1-0 lead heading into the second period, Palic fell behind 3-1 to the Cimarron fire hydrant and never recovered, falling 5-4.

In his third trip to Hays, the 220-pound junior Nordquist had a title match within reach.

Nordquist outlasted Wakeeney’s Dillon Dunn in the first match, 7-5, to advance to the quarterfinals against Adrian Gerber of Chapparal.

It took 4:57, but Nordquist scored a pin to advance to the semifinals against Goodland’s Luis Ledesma.

Eventual runner-up Ledesma put Nordquist in a hole too deep to escape, canceling Nordquist’s title match chances with a 7-2 decision.

In the consolation bracket, Nordquist faced off in a rematch against Dunn, taking him down again, this time in 2:27, and moving on to the consolation final against St. Francis’ Trayton Doyle.

Nordquist closed out his season at 33-5, falling to Doyle by a heartbreaking 1-0 decision to settle for fourth.

Heavyweight McLinden’s first and last trip to Hays was memorable despite a 2-3 finish.

McLinden ousted St. John’s Military School’s Bryce Kisner in the first round, 7-3, before pinning Royal Valley’s Brian Shane in 1:28 and moving on to the semifinals.

Smith Center’s top-ranked Avery Hawkins was the last one standing in McLinden’s way of wrestling for a title.

Hawkins’ pin sent McLinden to the consolation bracket and a meeting with Chaparral’s Jaden Eslinger.

McLinden never recovered from the semifinal loss, falling to Eslinger in the consolation semis in 1:29.

McLinden was still guaranteed a medal, but Goodland’s Reyes Bustillos hung on for a 1-0 victory, ending McLinden’s career at 33-12 and sixth place.

“I felt that it all went great,” McMichael said of the Warriors’ tournament outing. “I am proud of the boys and how they finished up.”

Last modified Feb. 28, 2018

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